Slavery's Ephemera
The Contemporary Life of the Antebellum Plantation
By Judith Jackson Fossett
Design by Erik Loyer

Project Credits

Many thanks to Project Designer Erik Loyer who, first and foremost, brought his ear to what would ultimately become Slavery's Ephemera. He listened to me, my sources, my ideas, my dreams for this project as no intellectual interlocutor has before. Multimedia projects had always seemed to me to be about wrestling with the textual and visual. Our collaboration reminded me of the value of the oral in collective visual imagining.

I am indebted to the Zumberge Faculty Innovation Grant at the University of Southern California which provided the research funds for my plantation travel, primarily conducted between 1998 and 2000. I thank my Slave/Commodity Keyword Group at "Redress in Law, Literature and Social Thought" Research Group (Winter/Spring 2003) at the Humanities Research Institute, UCIrvine, where my first substantive discussions of the plantation as ideological form began.

Many thanks to editors Tara McPherson and Steve Anderson for enabling me to move this archive out of its usual genres--the oversized coffee table book, academic journal essay, the personal memoir--to the hybrid form represented here (Steve, thanks to you and your assistants for wrestling with all my slides).

My deepest gratitude to Clayton Fossett for his vital, though seemingly ephemeral, aid at the end of this project. Your labor and support were invaluable.

I thank Dr. Gloria Jackson Bacon, erstwhile Research Assistant, driver and travelling companion during our journeys throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.

All photographs are my own except for those of Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and Evan Hall Slave Cabins.

Finally, my warmest salutations to the collegiality and intellectual graciousness of the Vectors team, particularly Erik Loyer and Tara McPherson, for allowing the ephemeral to become digital.
— Judith Jackson Fossett, May 19th, 2008

Judith Jackson Fossett
Judith Jackson Fossett teaches English and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is a cultural historian of slavery in the Americas. She has just completed Illuminated Darkness: Slavery and its Shadows in 19th-century America, a literary history of rhetorical forms in the wake of slavery. "Slavery's Ephemera" comes from a larger book project, Structures of Slavery: The Plantation in the New World Imagination. In addition to these scholarly endeavors, Jackson Fossett has also been intensely engages in bringing multimedia authoring and argumentation into the classroom, especially with regard to the African-American and American Studies curriculum.

Erik Loyer |
Designer Programmer
Erik Loyer's interactive artworks have been exhibited online and in festivals and museums throughout the United States and abroad, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Prix Ars Electronica; and Transmediale. Loyer is the creator of The Lair of the Marrow Monkey, one of the first websites to be added to the permanent collection of a major art museum, and Chroma, an award-winning web serial about the racial politics of virtual reality. As Creative Director for Vectors, he has designed numerous multimedia essays in collaboration with leading humanities scholars. Loyer's commercial portfolio includes Clio and One Show Gold Award-winning work for Vodafone as well as projects for BMW and Sony. He is the recipient of a Rockefeller Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowship, and his works have been honored in the Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media and the California Design Biennial. Loyer has a B.A. in Cinema/Television Production from the University of Southern California.